THE biggest Bulawayo derby is on tomorrow as Chicken Inn, who have slipped in their championship quest, host fading giants Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Chicken Inn coach Rahman Gumbo is gunning for the championship this year, but his side has faltered after suffering two successive defeats to Yadah and reigning champions Caps United.
When they lost to Yadah at home at Hartsfield Grounds at the beginning of the month, he said it was a wake-up call for his boys who had become too comfortable having gone nine matches without defeat.
But the GameCocks went on to lose again to Caps United at the National Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
The two defeats have seen Chicken Inn drop from the top to position four on the log table with 51 points, two behind leaders Dynamos.
They are, however, still in the race with second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars on 52 points, who are at par with fellow miners FC Platinum.
The midweek results made the title race an interesting affair as Dynamos host Harare City tomorrow at Rufaro, Ngezi are at home to Tsholotsho this afternoon while FC Platinum take on in-form champions Caps United at Mandava.
Chicken Inn are up against Highlanders who have struggled in the second half of the season, teetering on position 10 with 34 points after they were held to a goalless draw by Bantu Rovers at BF on Thursday, having won only one match so far in the second round of the season.
The GameCocks are boosted by the return of skipper Moses Jackson whose solitary goal in March punished Highlanders.
Jackson missed the Caps United tie due to suspension while Innocent Mucheneka, who also missed that game due to injury, could be bouncing back tomorrow.
Highlanders coach Erol Akbay is placing hopes on returning Rahman Kutsanzira, King Nadolo and Honest Moyo against Chicken Inn.
Kutsanzira and Nadolo missed the Bantu Rovers game due to injury, while Honest Moyo was on suspension with Simon Munawa not part of the team and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda on the bench.
“Chicken Inn have the best players in the league. That means it will be a very difficult game for us. We have not won against these guys in a long time, but it is very important for us that the players that were injured would have recovered. It is our hope,” Akbay said.
Only Gabriel Nyoni showed fighting spirit in the draw against struggling Bantu Rovers, who host Shabanie Mine at Luveve tomorrow.